Great Excavations

Tutankhamun’s tomb is justifiably famous, but archaeological history holds so many more amazing surprises and stories! Meet some of the larger than life personalities involved in the early stages of archaeology, famous (and infamous) archaeologists, men and women whose lives were full of adventure, danger - and occasionally scandal! Visit their excavations in Egypt, the Near East and around the Mediterranean recapturing the thrill of their discoveries of priceless treasures and extraordinary tombs, temples and palaces.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • Hankey, J., 2007, A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the Curse of the Pharaohs, London
  • Harris, D.E.,1994, The Archaeology of V. Gordon Child: Contemporary Perspectives, London
  • Hodgson, B., 2006, Dreaming of the East: Western Women and the Exotic Allure of the Orient, Vancouver
  • Mallowan, M., 2001, Mallowan’s Memoirs: Agatha and the Archaeologist, London
  • Mayes, S., 2003, The Great Belzoni: The Circus Strongman who Discovered Egypt’s Ancient Treasures, London
  • Marinatos, N., 2015, Sir Arthur Evans and Minoan Crete: creating the Vision of Knossos, London
  • Siliotti, A.,1998, Egypt Lost and Found: Explorers and Travellers on the Nile, London
  • Tyldesley, J., Egypt: How a Lost Civilisation was rediscovered, 2006, London (a BBC book published to coincide with their excellent DVD dramatization of the same book)
  • Winstone, H.V.F., 1990, Woolley of Ur: The Life of Sir Leonard Woolley, London
  • Pausanias, Guide to Greece – available as 2 volumes in Penguin Classics
  • Herodotus, The History, also in Penguin Classics


  • A look at the early Egyptologists and the intense national rivalries during the Napoleonic era – the devious machinations of the super powers of the day in obtaining ancient objets dárt as national status symbols for their collections.
  • Meet some of famous early Egyptologists and visit their excavations including Belzoni at Abu Simbel, Layard at Ninevah, Schliemann at Troy and Mycenae, Evans at Knossos, Schiaparelli in the Valley of the Queens.
  • Moving into the 20th century we will follow in the footsteps of (among others) Woolley and the death pits at Ur, Monet and the royal tombs at Tanis, Fiorelli at Pompeii - and delve into some of the scandals and mysteries involving several major archaeological figures such as Howard Carter, V. Gordon Childe and Gaston Maspero. During the period of WW2 the role of archaeologists working for the resistance in Crete will be examined and include an Australian connection.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the origins of archaeology and its development from treasure hunt to science.
  2. Look at extraordinary sites and sights less seen in the archaeological world – some of which are currently under considerable threat from war and political instability, others which are readily accessible to the traveller.
  3. Gain an insight into some of the most fascinating, complex and (sometimes) devious personalities involved in archaeological society over the past two centuries.
  4. Gain an enhanced appreciation for the beauty and variety of ancient art and a deeper understanding of how it has been revealed by archaeology over the years.
$145 Limited / $131

<p>Tutankhamun’s tomb is justifiably famous, but archaeological history holds so many more amazing surprises and stories! Meet some of the larger than life personalities involved in the early stages

01 Feb

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